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That community will and must survive in which the largest proportion of members make the accumulation of character their chief and first aim. And to this community every rival must in time yield its place and power, and all its acquisitions. And in every advancing community the position of any class or profession will in time be determined by its moral wealth.
But this moral wealth is intangible. The rewards and penalties of moral law easily escape notice in our hasty and superficial study of life. The God immanent in our environment often seems to hide himself. The altar of Jehovah is fallen down, and Baal's temples are crowded with loud-mouthed worshippers. The bribes of present enjoyment and of immediate success loom up before us, and we doubt if any other success is possible.
But the law of progress, even now so dimly discernible in environment, is written in our minds in letters of fire. For we have already seen that environment can be understood only by tracing its effects in the development of life. What is best and highest in us is the record of the working of what is best and highest in environment. And the personal God so dimly seen in environment is revealed in man's soul. Man must study himself, if he is to know what environment requires of him. And if the knowledge of himself and of the laws of his being is the highest knowledge, is not the vision of, and struggle toward, higher attainments, not yet realized and hence necessarily foreseen, the only mode of farther progress? And what is this pursuit of, and devotion to, ideals not yet realized and but dimly foreseen, if it is not
Faith, "the substance of things hoped for, and evidence of things not seen?" By it alone can man "obtain a good report." Man must "walk by faith, not by sight." "For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal."
IN Kingsley's fascinating historical romance, Raphael Aben-Ezra says to Hypatia, "Is it not possible that we have been so busy discussing what the philosopher should be, that we have forgotten that he must first of all be a man?" This truth we too often forget. No statesman, philosopher, least of all teacher, can be truly great who is not, first of all, and above all, a great man. And in our study of man are we not prone to forget that he stands in certain very definite and close relations with surrounding nature?
Man has been the object of so much special study, his position, owing to his higher moral and mental power, is so unique that he has often been regarded not only as a special creation, but as created to occupy a position not only unique, but also exceptional, above many of the very laws of nature, and not bound by them. Many speak and write of him as if it were his chief glory and prerogative to be as far removed as possible, not only from the animal, but even from the whole realm of nature. The mistake of making him an exception arises, after all, not so much. from too high a conception of man, at least of his possibilities, as from too low a view of nature.
But however this view may have arisen, it is onesided and mistaken. Man certainly has a place in
Nature-not above it. If he is the goal toward which the ascending series of living forms has continually tended, he is a part of the series-the real goal lies far above him.
Pascal says, "It is dangerous to show a man too clearly how closely he resembles the brute without showing him at the same time his greatness. It is equally dangerous to impress upon him his greatness without his lowliness. It is still more dangerous to leave him in ignorance of both. But it is of great advantage to point out to him both characteristics side by side."
A great German thinker began his work on the human soul with a discussion of the law of gravitation.
All study of man must begin with the study of the atom. Man's life we have seen to be the aggregate of the work of all the cells of his body. But the protoplasm which composes his cells is a chemical compound, and hence subject to all the laws of all the atoms of which it is composed. And its molecules, or the smallest mechanically separable compounds of these atoms, are arranged and related according to the laws of physics, so as to permit or produce the play of certain forces which are always the result of atomic or molecular combination. Every motive or thought demands the combustion of a certain amount of material which has been already assimilated in the microscopic cellular laboratories of our body. Every vital activity is manifested at least through chemical and physical forces. And the elements of the fuel for our engines we receive through plants from the inorganic world. For the plant, as we have seen, stores up as potential energy in its compounds the
actual energy of the sun's rays. And thus man lives and thinks by energy, obtained originally from the sun. But man not only consumes food and fuel. The complicated protoplasm is continually wearing out and being replaced. Every cell in our bodies is a centre toward which particles of material stream to be assimilated and form for a time a part of the living substance, and then to be cast out again as dead matter. Our very existence depends upon this continual change. There is synthesis of simple substances into more complex compounds, and then analysis of these complex compounds into simpler, and from this latter process results the energy manifested in every vital action. We are all whirlpools on the surface of nature; when the whirling ceases we disappear. Man, like every other living being, exists in a condition of constant interchange with surrounding nature; he is rooted in innumerable ways in the inorganic world.
And because of these close relations the great characteristic of living beings is the necessity and power of conformity to environment. Hence a very common definition of life is the continual adjustment of internal relations to external relations or conditions. To a very slight extent man can rise superior to certain of the ruder elements of his surroundings, but he gains this victory only by learning and following the laws of the very environment which he succeeds in subjecting to himself. Indeed his higher development and finer build bring him into touch with an indefinitely wider range of surroundings than even the lower animal. Forces, conditions, and relations which never enter the sphere of life of lower forms, crowd and press upon him and he cannot escape them. His higher